I have known Melody over 15 years. We served together on the Atlanta Urban Design Commission (AUDC) and have supported each other’s professional goals through accountability lunches, writing and advocacy.
Melody’s perseverance to promote the architecture profession through volunteerism is unparalleled among my peers. She recently applied for and achieved FAIA, fellowship status, due to her service on the AIA (American Institute of Architects), dozens of published articles about architecture design and the implementation of multiple programs to educate students and adults on what an architect does.
Check out the Intown Atlanta newsletter to read Melody’s insight on projects such as the Central Library in Atlanta, The Round House designed by Cecil Alexander and changes undergoing the Summerhill neighborhood.
As an active participant of AIA Atlanta, and past Chapter President, Melody established the Discover Architecture program, an after school class for Atlanta Public School elementary students to learn about architecture and design from volunteer professionals. She has also arranged design and charrette competitions in association with the High Museum of Art for high school students and numerous competitions including a photography scavenger hunt. The goal of the activity encouraged people to explore their community to capture through photographs architecture details on buildings.
Melody’s passion for community engagement led her to the position of Executive Director at the Blue Heron Nature Preserve. In that role, she continues to create educational opportunities for the public and students to learn about nature, art and what the built environment is and why it is special.
Thank you Melody for your time today to hear more insight on what motivates you in the architecture profession.
Melody, you attended Notre Dame, what is your biggest take away from that education?
My Notre Dame education gave me extraordinary and diverse experiences in my journey to become an architect. Through our architectural design education, professors helped students to explore and elevate sites ranging from local sites in South Bend, where the university is located, to large commercial sites in nearby Chicago and sites in Rome, Italy for the Study Abroad Program. All of these experiences were layered with a commitment to beauty, scale, and context.
You have written dozens of articles about architecture, buildings and communities, which one is your favorite?
Because I select architecture and architects for the columns that deeply interest me, each of my fifty plus columns feels like a favorite. Some of the most memorable columns include my profile of the late architect Cecil Alexander Jr., FAIA in the Atlanta Intown newspaper. This feature led to my profile of this gifted architect in Architect magazine. I also appreciated the fact that my Atlanta INtown feature on Fountain Hall at Morris Brown College garnered lots of goodwill during a pivotal time for the school. Most recently, I enjoyed writing about the Atlanta Central Library, architects William J. “Bill” Stanley III and Ivenue Love-Stanley, and the Round House, a home designed by Cecil Alexander Jr., FAIA.
What drives you to advocate for the architecture profession?
Atlanta has endured a history of destroying architectural gems and ignoring the contributions of architects for the beauty and vitality of local communities. I’m delighted to be a champion for uplifting architecture, architects, and greenspaces in Atlanta, and beyond. As an AIA Fellow, I also am impassioned to mentor more AIA Fellows from Atlanta and Georgia in the coming years. Society benefits from more architects, who excel within our profession and in their communities.
What is the number one message you want to share?
The architecture profession has space for people of diverse experiences, skills, and interests to contribute to a better society. From designing new projects to revitalizing buildings and communities, architects have a significant role with the quality of life for communities. We must proceed thoughtfully with this responsibility: respectful of the past, responsive to the present, and forward-thinking for the future.
Melody Harclerode, FAIA enjoys uplifting people and places as an award-winning architect, author, and Executive Director of Blue Heron Nature Preserve in Atlanta.
Again, thank your Melody for you time and willingness to answer these questions!